What are eSIMs and should you make the switch to them? Here are the answers to all your questions. We explain to you what an eSIM or virtual SIM card is, how it works, what eSIM benefits, and which carriers and devices have this technology.
What is an eSIM? An eSIM is a SIM card that is embedded in a mobile device and can connect you to any operator offering eSIM services. Furthermore, the e-SIM works the same way as a traditional SIM card, but you don’t need a physical SIM card to use it.
Understanding the eSIM technology
An embedded SIM, or eSIM, cannot be removed. It’s a programmable SIM card that’s physically connected (soldered) to your smartphone’s motherboard. It does everything a removable SIM card does, but you can’t physically remove it — at least not without breaking open the phone and unsoldering the chip.
This may seem problematic at first glance. For instance, when traveling abroad using phones with removable SIM cards, you can swap to another carrier’s SIM card to get local coverage and avoid paying roaming fees from your primary carrier. Likewise, if you want to switch local carriers but keep your phone, a removable SIM card can be popped out and easily replaced with a new one in seconds. Your first impression may be that this is impossible with an eSIM.
However, eSIM technology actually makes switching carriers even easier, at least in theory. Instead of waiting for a new SIM card to ship or making a trip to a local store to pick one up, you can make the switch right on your phone by entering information from your carrier — often just by scanning a QR code with your smartphone’s camera. If your smartphone has an eSIM inside, you’ll find options in the settings that allow you to configure your eSIM, switch between lines and carriers, and manage your accounts. If you’re a dual-SIM user, eSIM technology may even support multiple accounts — and switching between them is super easy.
Difference between eSIM and physical SIM
The main difference between the eSIM and SIM card is that the eSIM is completely virtual, so to use it, you don’t need a physical chip like the traditional SIM card, but you need a compatible cellphone. Usually, just the last-gen devices support it.
This means that to get an eSIM, you don’t need to wait days at home for the SIM to arrive, or another couple of days for it to be activated. You just need to go to an online store, buy the eSIM and download it. All in a couple of minutes.
There are a few key differences between an eSIM and a physical SIM:
- A physical SIM is a removable chip.
- An eSIM is embedded in your device.
- A physical SIM is tied to a specific carrier.
- An eSIM is carrier-independent.
- Physical SIM is removable and can be lost or stolen
- An eSIM can be uninstalled but can’t be lost or stolen
What devices are compatible with eSIM technology?
iPhone 14 Pro Max, iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone SE 3 (2022), iPhone SE 2 (2020) , iPad Pro 11″ (1st Gen or later), iPad Pro 12.9″ (3rd Gen or later), iPad Air (3rd Gen or later), iPad (7th Gen or later), iPad mini (5th Gen or later), Arrows A101 FC, Google Pixel 7 Pro, 7, 6 Pro, 6, 6a, 5, 4, 4a, 4 XL, HONOR Magic 4 Pro, Huawei P40, P40 Pro, Mate 40 Pro, Nokia G60 5G, X30 5G, Nuu X5, Rakuten Mini, Big‑S, Big, Oppo Find N2 Flip, Find X3 Pro, Find X5 Pro, Reno 5A, Reno 6 Pro, Samsung Galaxy Fold, Note20, Note20 Ultra, S23, S23+, S23 Utra, S22, S22+, S22 Ultra, S21 5G, S21+ 5G, S21 Ultra 5G, S20, S20+, S20 Ultra, Z Flip, Z Fold 2, Z Fold 3 5G, Z Fold 4, Z Flip 3 5G Fold, Z Flip 3 5G, Z Flip 4, Sharp AQUOS sense4 lite, Sony Xperia 10 III Lite, 1 IV, 5 IV, 10 IV, Xiaomi 12T Pro, Surface Duo, Gemini PDA, the Microsoft Surface Pro X.
eSIM in Nigeria: MTN, Airtel, and Airtel
Below we highlight the simple steps on how to use the eSIM for MTN, 9mobile, and Airtel.
How To Register And Activate MTN ESIM In Nigeria
The MTN eSIM in Nigeria is said to be a trial that will run for 365 days and it is open on a first come first served basis to a restricted number of subscribers who own compatible devices. To register the MTN eSim you will have to visit any of the MTN stores you know, and the activation process would follow at the store. To use eSim cards, it first has to be activated on your phone. The activation has to be done in an MTN store by a customer care agent. According to MTN, the process is done at no cost to the subscriber.
How To Activate And Use 9Mobile Nigeria ESIM
The whole process of getting the 9Mobile eSIM is similar to that of MTN, customers can walk into any of our select 9mobile Experience Centres to request an eSIM activation, following that a QR code will be provided to scan and download an eSIM profile and perform the usual SIM registration.
Customers that walk into any 9Mobile Experience Centre and activate the eSIM and you should get up to 7GB free worth of data. If you already have a traditional SIM card and you want to replace it with an eSIM, you only need to do a SIM swap.
How To Use Airtel Nigeria ESIM
How to use Airtel Nigeria eSIM: Please dial *#06# on your smartphone to check for device compatibility. A Device should display an EID number. Visit any Airtel Service Centre where our seasoned customer care agents will walk you through setting up your eSIM. Please click on Airtel Centre to locate the nearest Service Centre closest to you.
Smartphones with eSIM support in Nigeria
Here’s a list of smartphones that have official eSIM support in Nigeria:
- iPhone XS series and later
- iPhone SE 2020 and 2022
- Cellular Apple Watch Series 3 and later
- Google Pixel 2 and later
- OPPO Find X3 and later
- Sony Xperia 1 IV, 5 IV, 10 III Lite, 10 IV
If you own any recent high-end device, there’s a good chance that it probably supports eSIM. You can easily check it on the manufacturer’s website, manual, or specs list for verification.